The 2013 football season has been a strange one so far for head coach Jay Circosta and his Monroe Central Seminoles.
The 'Noles are undefeated in their four Pioneer Valley Conference games, routing the likes of River, Caldwell, Fort Frye, and Shenandoah by a combined score of 199-50.
Ironically Monroe Central is winless in its three non-conference games against Union Local, Shadyside and Magnolia by an 81-41 margin.
Photo courtesy of Katie Parks
Shenandoah’s Ethan McKee (15) is gang-tackled by Monroe Central’s Caden Nutter (49) and Gavin Morton (88) during a prep football game Friday in Sarahsville. Shenandoah’s Michael Vanfossen (33) and Cody Crum (65) look on.
Friday night the Seminoles will look to break that trend when they make the short trip to Barnesville to renew their annual rivalry with the Shamrocks.
Levi Brown continues to have an outstanding season for Monroe Central as the senior running back has accumulated 658 yards rushing on 97 carries while also hauling in nine catches for 144 more yards.
Quarterback Curtis Nixon, who took over the signal calling duties in the second week of the season, has completed 48-of-82 pass attempts for 771 yards and eight touchdowns.
Nixon has also rushed the ball 87 times for 535 yards and scored 73 points on the season, second on the team to Brown's 78.
The 2013 season has been quite a struggle for the Shamrocks as their only notch in the win column came in a week five victory over the Shenandoah Zeps (28-6).
The past two weeks have been especially unkind to Barnesville as it has been on the short end of a pair of lopsided defeats to Caldwell (42-7) and Steubenville Catholic Central (56-0).
Key players for Barnesville figure to be running back Dylan Burkhart and quarterback Austin Hannahs.
Every win from here out will be crucial to the Seminoles playoff hopes as they currently hold down the eighth and final spot in the Division VI Region 21 rankings.
Last year in Woodsfield, the 'Noles rolled to a 42-0 victory over the 'Rocks.
TRIMBLE (7-0) AT BELPRE (3-4)
The resurgent and finally healthy Belpre Golden Eagles will look to continue their recent hot streak when they host the undefeated Trimble Tomcats Friday night in a Tri-Valley Hocking Division contest.
Not surprisingly the rise of the Eagles has coincided with the return of junior running back Manney Tulius from a leg injury.
Tulius proved he was all the way back last week when he rambled for 303 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns in Belpre's 21-8 victory over South Gallia.
Belpre quarterback Tavian Miller is having a solid season of his own as he has completed 42-of-94 passes on the season for 592 yards, while rushing for 195 yards and five touchdowns.
Freshman wideout Dijon Bedgood has averaged 19 yards per reception for Belpre as he has caught 17 passes for 324 yards and four touchdowns.
The Trimble defense has been nothing short of dominating thru the first seven games of the season as it has yielded an average of just 2.7 points per game, including shutouts in five of them.
The Tomcats currently rest in the number two spot in the Ohio Division VII Region 25 standings behind Shadyside.
While the 'Cats are known for their tenacious defense, there offense has been quite impressive in their own right as they are averaging just under 40 points per game.
Quarterback Konner Standley has passed for 1,155 yards (71-116) and 15 touchdowns on the season, while Justice Jenkins paces the Tomcats in rushing with 364 yards on 42 touches.
Austin Downs has just shy of 700 receiving yards on the season and seven touchdowns.
Last year the Eagles were no match for Trimble in Glouster as they were defeated 54-0.
WATERFORD (2-5) AT SOUTHERN (6-1)
The Waterford Wildcats will look to carry the momentum they gained from last week's rout of Franklin Furnace Green when they travel to Racine to battle a very tough Southern Tornado squad in a TVC Hocking Division battle Friday night.
The green and white captured their first victory in more than a month last week with a convincing 44-6 victory over Green.
Senior running back Austin Lang had his best game of the season against Green as he rushed 17 times for an even 200 yards, while freshman quarterback Isaac Huffman passed for 164 yards (10-17) and a pair of touchdowns.
Jaret and Tyler McCutcheon scored a rushing touchdown each for the Wildcats, while Dalton Ball and Brendan Dailey hauled in touchdown passes from Huffman.
Southern is arguably the most improved team in the area as after opening the 2012 season by losing five of their first six games, the Tornadoes have now won nine of their last 11 games with their only losses coming at the hands of powerhouses Trimble and Wahama.
The Tornados appear to be playoff bound as they currently are ranked fourth in the Ohio Division VII Region 25 standings with three games to play.
Key players to watch for Southern include quarterback Tristan Wolfe as well as running back Tyler Barton and receiver Hunter Johnson.
Last year Southern tripled up on the Cats 21-0 in Waterford.
FRONTIER (3-4) AT VALLEY (3-3)
The Frontier Cougars will look to get their season back on track after a disappointing PVC loss last week to the Caldwell Redskins (36-13) when they visit Valley Wetzel in a non-conference game Friday night.
The Cougars entered the fourth quarter last week trailing the Redskins 14-7 before allowing 22 fourth quarter points to temporarily derail their post season hopes.
Frontier may need to win out to make the playoffs as it slipped to 11th in the Division VII Region 25 standings.
Cougar quarterback Mitch Reynolds had a solid game against Caldwell as the junior completed 12-of-24 passes in the game for 119 yards including eight to sophomore Damon Metheney for 80 yards.
Running back Rodney Barnes leads the Cougars in receiving yards with 203 while also carrying the rock 84 times for 382 yards.
Valley snapped a two-game losing streak last week with a 27-20 win over St. John Central.
The Lumberjacks also own a win over Hannan (41-8) and a forfeit victory over Hundred.
Quarterback Triston Kocher and running back Kale Lloyd play key roles for the Valley offense.
Last year Frontier scored a 40-7 win over the "Jacks in New Matamoras.
RIVER (2-5) AT SHENANDOAH (1-6)
The Shenandoah Zeps got a taste of victory two weeks ago when they snapped a 15-game losing streak at the expense of Buckeye Trail (32-21).
The Zeps would like nothing more than to make it two-out-of-three when they host the River Pilots Friday night in a PVC match up.
Shenandoah struggled last week against the always tough Monroe Central Seminoles as they came up on the short end of a 56-9 decision in Woodsfield.
Running back Michael Vanfossen has been solid all season long for second-year head coach Kaleb Lawrence and his Zeps as the sophomore has rushed for 720 yards on 120 carries and six touchdowns.
River also dropped its first five games of the season before rallying the past two weeks with victories over Bishop Rosecrans (41-0) and Bridgeport (23-15).
Last week against Bridgeport, River quarterback Joe Flannery connected on a 55-yard touchdown pass to Bryce Cross.
River easily handled the Zeps 40-6 last year in Hannibal.
MILLER (2-5) AT FEDERAL HOCKING (3-4)
The Federal Hocking Lancers will look to snap a two-game losing streak Friday night when they host the Miller Falcons in a Tri Valley Conference Hocking Division contest in Stewart.
The Lancers defense has been non-existent the past two weeks as it yielded 50 plus points to both South Gallia (57-34) and Wahama (53-12) to fall below the .500 mark on the season.
Federal Hocking running back Delbert Crum has rushed for 627 yards on the season (91 carries), while Alfie Nichols has been solid the past few weeks filling in at quarterback for the injured Phillip Hoffman.
Peyton Seels has rushed for over 300 yards on the season while catching 13 passes for 194 yards.
Miller owns victories over Millersport (20-0) and Hannan (26-20) but comes into the game fresh off of a 60-0 shellacking at the hands of the Southern Tornados.
Garrett Sinift will likely get the call at quarterback for Miller, while other key Falcon players are running backs Trevor Chilcote and Aaron Waldrop as well as receivers Austin Doughty and Garrett Bartley.
Last year Federal Hocking scored a dominant 48-0 win over the Falcons in Corning.
CROOKSVILLE (3-4) AT MORGAN (0-7)
The Morgan Raiders will look once again to put an end to their losing streak that now sits at 10 games when they host the Crooksville Ceramics Friday night in a Muskingum Valley League struggle.
The Nate Smith-coached Raiders have been shut out the past two weeks by Maysville (63-0) and John Glenn (58-0).
Jerome Mayle leads the Raiders in rushing with 241 yards on 53 carries while Kody Driggs has carried the ball 54 times for 158 yards.
Crooksville has not faired much better the past few weeks as it too has lost two games in a row.
Last week the Ceramics were beaten soundly by Danville (26-6) one week removed from a 33-7 loss to the Philo Electrics.
Last year in a good one in Crooksville the Ceramics edged the Raiders 35-26.
DODDRIDGE COUNTY (5-2) AT EASTERN (2-5)
The Doddridge County Bulldogs travel to Reedsville Friday night to take on the Eastern Eagles in a non-conference contest.
A victory against Eastern would go a long way into locking up a playoff berth for the Bulldogs who own victories on the season against South Harrison (20-6), Tyler Consolidated (26-12), Calhoun County (45-8), Wirt County (18-16) and Gilmer County (46-22).
Quarterback David Lipscomb, running back Wyatt Ford and receiver Jarrod Sandy play key roles for Doddridge County.
Eastern carries a three-game losing streak into week eight with its last victory coming over Waterford (28-0) in week four.
Eastern is paced in rushing by Zach Scowden with 316 yards on 73 carries.
Last year Eastern scored a 21-14 win over the Bulldogs in West union.
PARKERSBURG CATHOLIC (6-1) AT VALLEY FAYETTE (6-0)
In a game that could very well be a preview to a play off match up later in the season, the Parkersburg Catholic Crusaders travel to Smithers to take on the undefeated Valley Fayette Greyhounds.
The Crusaders only loss of the season came to the No. 1 ranked St. Marys Blue Devils (49-20) back in week three and a victory over Fayette would go along way to securing a home game in the first round of the playoffs.
Quarterback Peyton Sturm leads Catholic in rushing with 449 yards on 78 carries, while Jake Boice is right behind with 400 yards and five Crusader touchdowns.
Nick Roedersheimer averages 16.3 yards per reception (17-277) for Parkersburg Catholic.
Valley Fayette has been tested its past two weeks but managed wins over both Meadow Bridge (16-8) and Tug Valley (30-14).
Key players for the 'Hounds figure to be quarterback Raeshawn Breckenridge and running backs Dante Wilkerson and Keyshawn Payne.
Last year in Parkersburg, the Crusaders cruised to a 37-14 victory the Greyhounds.